Blake Tierney Drops 2.5 Seconds to Break Canadian 200 Back Record; Secure Olympic Berth #2


Blake Tierney entered the 2024 Canadian Olympic Trials best known as a 100 meter backstroker. That was the only individual race he swam at the Pan American Games last fall, taking bronze, and he was the top seed entering this meet.

He earned his first Olympic berth in that 100 back on Tuesday, winning in 53.48, but wasn’t done. On Friday evening in Toronto, he ripped off a massive personal best in the 200 backstroke to secure a second individual swim, and in the process broke the Canadian Record in the event.

Tierney swam 1:56.74, clearing the old Canadian Record of 1:56.96 that was done in 2019 by Markus Thormeyer. Tierney’s best swim in this event was done more than two years ago and was only 1:59.19 – meaning a nearly two-and-a-half second improvement to win on Friday.

Splits Comparison:

Blake Tierney Blake Tierney
Old PB (2022) New Canadian Record
Old Canadian Record (2019)
50m 28.03 27.25 27.69
100m 30.15 (58.18) 29.30 (56.55) 29.37 (57.06)
150m 30.23 29.90 29.81
200m 30.78 (1:01.01) 30.29 (1:00.19) 30.09 (59.90)
Total Time 1:59.19 1:56.74 1:56.96

Thormeyer, a two-time Olympian, received a 12-month suspension in 2022 after testing positive for the banned substance Lingandrol. While he’s only 25, he never returned to competition after his ban expired in February 2023.

Thormeyer had enough speed to come down to the 100s, but at his core was more of a 200 meter swimmer – which is reflected in the splits comparison above. As for Tierney, he improved significantly in both halves of the race – but especially in the first 100 meters, where he was 1.6 seconds better than he swam two years ago.

Thormeyer still holds the Canadian Record in the 100 backstroke in 53.35.

Tierney entered the meet as the 5th seed in the 200 back. He also swam in prelims of the 200 free (1:50.81 – 9th) and 100 free (50.40 – 14th) but skipped his evening swims in both races. He is scheduled to finish his meet in the 200 IM on Saturday, where he is the 21st seed with a 2:01.34.

Tierney trains with the High Performance Center Vancouver let by head coach Scott Talbot and assistant coach Mandy Bell.

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder/co-owner of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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